Sunset shooting at Portuguese Settlement

By | Beautiful Melaka, Photography | 7 Comments
the Kristang fishermen couples on the boat

the Kristang fishermen couples on the boat

When the Portuguese conquered Melaka back in the 16th century, some of the soldiers married with the local Malay women and for some possibly Indian or Chinese. And their decendants, who is called Kristang ethnic founded their own settlement in 1930s by purchasing 11 hectares of land in Ujong Pasir with the purpose of creating a haven for scattered Kristang and their culture.

Initially the fishing village was known as Saint John’s village. It was a swampy land with 10 wooden houses with earth floors and attap roofs built. The villagers live along the coast as fishermen and soon the village attracted additional Kistang from all over Malaysia. The village then grew to become on of Malacca’s main tourist attractions today.

an uncle and auntie were walking along the walkway of Portuguese Settlement

an uncle and auntie were walking along the walkway of Portuguese Settlement

Portuguese Settlement is very near to my house, 5 minutes drive away. I remember when I was young I’d love to cycle there with my friends often to visit our Kristang friends living there. Their homes had the shore right behind them and there was a long jetty built of rows of plank supported by stilts constructed as platform for the fishers to dock and undock. It always seemed to be collapsing, yet a beautiful and scenic place for us to hang out. Today we can no longer seeing the wooden jetty.

Recent reclamation project in Malacca extended the shore of Portuguese Settlement, creating new land, building a hotel, replaced the wooden jetty with a cement paved walkway and a new stretch of seafood restaurants which offer delicious Portuguese style seafood. As a result of this the standard of living of the villagers is improving. However, the villagers no longer enjoy a sea front view of the Straits of Malacca behind their homes.

the sun was going down

the sun was going down

Today while having some free time in the afternoon, I rang up Angel Wee to shoot sunset photos and I provided her with two options which were Portuguese Settlement and the Eye of Malaysia. She happily agreed to join and chose Portuguese Settlement for the shooting location as the place is not too far from her house compared to the Eye of Malaysia.

We arrived there in a good time and spent an hour snapping the photos the sunset there, really beautiful sky with layers of hues blending in complexity above the horizon. Besides we were also getting some shots of the new jetty walkway and the people there. Lucky to have met two lovely and friendly little girls who were from China and came here to visit, they were curious on what we were doing. Angel asked them to be our models as they were really cute and photogenic and they couldn’t resist.

Soon it came to dusk when the sun disappeared below the horizon. We ended our shooting session with a sweet and sour mango juice bought from one of the stalls of the seafood restaurants. It tasted so good and refreshing, and it cheered up the beginning of a beautiful night.

The whole shooting session was pleasant and I learned so many things from Angel. I really loved some of her shots she took with nice lighting effects and good composition. Thanks to Angel for being my company and my teacher, and I hope we have a chance to go for another phototaking again.

May all beings be happy. Sharing some of my shots:

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Photography along Sungai Duyung

By | Beautiful Melaka, Photography | No Comments
an abondoned fishing boat sighted beside Sungai Duyung

an abondoned fishing boat sighted beside Sungai Duyung

Muara Sungai Duyung is the river mouth for fishing activities in Permatang Pasir, Melaka. This is where you can see many fishing boats docking and undocking and also purchase varieties of fresh catches from the sea of the day. Towards the end of the river there is a hidden treasure where fresh, delicious and inexpensive ikan bakar (Malay, meaning baked fish) can be found.

The place is not far from Melaka Town compared to other famous seafood places in Melaka such as Anjung Batu, Alai and Umbai: you will be able to reach there for a 20 minutes drive from Bandar Hilir. Just drive along Padang Temu Road and you will find a river named Sungai Duyung. Turn to your right after the river and drive on the gravel road along the river to the end, then you will see the place. There are only two seafood restaurants at Muara Sungai Duyung so it’s not difficult to locate them.

It takes me 10 minutes drive from my house to Sungai Duyung though I don’t go there often to have seafood. Nevertheless, my good friend, Henry Lee invited me to have some seafood last Sunday and I happened to discover a good spot here for photo shooting. And I did it today.

It was hot this afternoon. I’d decided to click on the dusty shutter again since I had my last shooting quite some time ago. Driving alone to Sungai Duyung, I then drove along the river and stopped at a few spots to take some shots. It was a bit scary to shoot alone beside the river after I saw a yellow sign board written in Malay, which means:

Please don’t disturb or hurt the crocodiles if you happen to see one in this area. They will not do harm if they are not offended. Kindly contact the authority if you see someone harming the crocs. 

It sounded scary yet how I wished I could see one so that I can take some photos of the croc. Unfortunately I did not sight any. I saw some monitor lizards along the river and my car was nearly run over a two-meter one which ran across the gravel road when I drove. Both the lizard and I got a shock. I made an emergency break while it jumped speedily into the river.

a little monitor lizard fleeing away from the camera

a little monitor lizard fleeing away from the camera

It was sunny yet the view there was really good and serene with attap houses and coconuts trees. There were also some fishermen I met when I stopped my car and walked along the river. They were resting and ready to head out to the sea to make a living.  These friendly fishermen waved hello to me when they saw me.

However, it’s sad to see that this place is being developed as I could see. And soon this fishing settlement will be vanished and transformed to a residential area. Before then, it was good for me to take some shots of Sungai Duyung to keep evidences of its scenic views. I spent an hour there before I headed back to town and I really enjoyed this tour-and-shoot session. Share some shots I took:

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‘Running of the bulls’ factsheets

By | Compassion | One Comment
Bull fighting in Spain (image from www.notsoboringlife.com)

Bull fighting in Spain (image from www.notsoboringlife.com)

A Tradition of Cruelty

The magnificent animals who slip and slide on the streets of Pamplona during the “Running of the Bulls” are later barbarically killed – all in the name of “tradition”. Torturing and killing a defenceless animal should not be celebrated as tradition. People have always tried to use tradition to justify horrible things, such as child labour and slavery. But tradition doesn’t make something right. Bullfighting is a cruel blood sport that should have been relegated to the history books a long time ago. No matter what its history is, bullfighting consists of the torture, mutilation and slaughter of animals for entertainment.

The ‘Running of the Bulls’

Bulls are bred in fields and are not accustomed to the noise of the crowd or being surrounded by people. They are kept in crowded, dark enclosures, and when they are prodded onto the streets with electric shocks, they are momentarily blinded by the sunlight. They are terrified and are hit by runners with rolled up newspapers. The corners of the bulls’ route are quite sharp, and the animals often lose their footing and slide into walls, breaking bones and injuring themselves. All the bulls who slip and slide on the streets of Pamplona are running towards a bloody and horrific death in the bullring.

Bullfights

Each year, more than 40,000 bulls are barbarically slaughtered in Spain’s bullrings. Most foreign visitors who witness a bullfight never wish to see one again. They are repulsed, disgusted and saddened by the cruelty of the spectacle.

At best, the term “bullfighting” is a misnomer, as there is usually little competition between a nimble sword-wielding matador (Spanish for “killer”) and a confused, maimed, psychologically tormented and physically debilitated bull.

One of the biggest supporters of bullfighting is the tourist industry. Travel agents and bullfight promoters portray the fight as a festive and fair competition. What they do not reveal is that the bull never has a chance to defend himself, much less to survive.

Bulls are intentionally debilitated by various means, such as having sandbags dropped on their backs. Drugging is also very common. A study conducted by scientists at Spain’s Salamanca University found that 20 per cent of the bulls used for fighting are drugged before they step into the ring. In a sampling of 200 bulls, one in five had been given anti-inflammatory drugs, which mask injuries that could sap animals’ strength.

Another common practice is to “shave” bulls’ horns by sawing off a few inches. Bulls’ horns, like cats’ whiskers, help the animals navigate, so a sudden change impairs their coordination. Shaving is illegal, so the horns are sometimes inspected by a veterinarian after a fight. In 1997, the Confederation of Bullfighting Professionals – which includes Spain’s 230 matadors – went on strike in opposition to these veterinary inspections.

Running of the bulls (Photo credit: Jerome Lescure)

Running of the bulls (Photo credit: Jerome Lescure)

In a typical bullfight, the bull enters the arena and is approached by picadors – men on blindfolded horses who drive lances into the bull’s back and neck muscles. This impairs the bull’s ability to lift his head. They twist and gouge the lances to ensure a significant amount of blood loss. Then banderilleros enter on foot and proceed to distract the bull and dart around him while plunging banderillas – bright sticks with harpoon points on their ends – into his back. When the bull has become weakened from blood loss, the banderilleros run the bull in more circles until he is dizzy and stops chasing. Finally, the matador appears and, after provoking a few exhausted charges from the dying animal, tries to kill the bull with his sword. If he misses, succeeding only in further mutilating the animal, an executioner is called in to stab the exhausted and submissive animal to death. The dagger is supposed to cut the animal’s spinal cord, but even this can be blundered, leaving the bull conscious but paralysed as he is chained by his horns and dragged out of the arena.

If the crowd is happy with the matador, the bull’s ears and tail are cut off and presented as a trophy. A few minutes later, another bull enters the arena and the sadistic cycle starts again.

It is a very cowardly event. The matador has the choice to be there – the bull does not. From the moment he enters the ring from the dark alleyway where he is kept, the bull doesn’t stand a chance. He may be weakened by beatings with sandbags, have the muscles in his neck cut in order to prevent him from lifting his head up all the way, be debilitated with laxatives, have his horns shaved or have petroleum jelly rubbed into his eyes in order to alter his ability to judge distance.

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The missing piece 失落的一角

By | Drawing and artwork, Wisdom | No Comments
The missing piece - by CJ

The missing piece - by CJ

‘Who are you?’ asked the missing piece.
‘I am the Big O,’ said the Big O.
‘I think you are the one I have been waiting for,’ said the missing piece. ‘Maybe I am your missing piece.’
‘But I am not missing a piece,’ said the Big O.
‘There is no place you would fit.’
‘That is too bad,’ said the missing piece.
‘I was hoping that perhaps I could roll with you….’
‘You cannot roll with me,’ said the Big O,
‘but perhaps you can roll by yourself.’
‘By myself? A missing piece cannot roll by itself.’
‘Have you ever tried?’ asked the Big O.
‘But I have sharp corners,’ said the missing piece.
‘I am not shaped for rolling.’
‘Corners wear off,’ said the Big O, ‘and shapes change.
Anyhow, I must say good-bye..
Perhaps we will meet again….’
And away it rolled.
The missing piece was alone again.”

“For a long time it just sat there.
Then… slowly… it lifted itself up on one end…and flopped over.
Then lift…pull…flop…
it began to move forward….
And soon its edges began to wear off…
liftpullflopliftpullflop…
and its shape began to change…
and then it was bumping instead of flopping…
and then it was bouncing instead of bumping…
and then it was rolling instead of bouncing….
And it didn’t know where and it didn’t care.
It was rolling!”

[source: from the book “The Missing Piece Meets the Big O” by Shel Silverstein]
 

中文版:

从前有一个三角形,像是被人抛弃般地躲在一个角落里,它终日郁闷地躺在那里,等着别人来跟它合并,弥补它的棱角,好让它能继续朝前滚动。

就这样,一天一天的过去了,它望穿秋水也等不到这样的人到来。

直到有一天,它看到有一个大圆向它滚来,他兴奋的叫了起来,向大圆诉苦着说:”你可怜可怜我吧!你就是我所期盼的人啊!我一定是你失落的一角吧!”

大圆笑着说:”我本身就是圆满!我从没失落过什么角啊!”

失落的一角哀求着说:”让我跟你融而为一吧!带我走吧!”

大圆很无奈的道:”我真的容不下你啊!你为什么不自己走呢!”

失落的一角说:”我自己不会走啊!因为我无法滚动啊!”

大圆说:”谁说的,我也不是天生就是圆满的,我以前也是跟你一样有棱有角的,请问:’你努力过吗?’”

失落的一角说:”我一动就会摔倒,我也曾努力过啊!”

大圆专注的说:”努力不一定会成功喔!”然后停了下来,再继续语重心长的说:”但是成功却永远需要努力喔!”

大圆一步一步的滚着离开了。留下失落的一角独自深思。

失落的一角开始尝试滚动着,它一爬起来就马上摔倒在地,于是它咬紧牙根,一次次的爬起,也一次次的摔倒,在爬起与摔倒之间,它的棱角渐被磨圆了,它开始也能往前滚动了,终于失落的一角也变成一个小圆了,他也可以往前滚动行进了。

[source: 翻译自希尔.弗斯坦的《失落的一角》]
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幸福来自平凡生活

By | Wisdom | No Comments
Station Kiss / Copenhagen Central Station (photo by Mikael Colville-Andersen)

Station Kiss / Copenhagen Central Station (photo by Mikael Colville-Andersen)

美国教育学家威廉·杜朗曾经现身说法,揭示幸福的含义,他是这样寻找幸福的:

他想从金钱里寻找幸福,认为只要有足够的金钱就可以得到幸福的生活。可是金钱并没有使他感到幸福,他得到的只是烦恼;

他想从感情中寻找幸福,结果他和意中人分道扬镳,和好朋友反目成仇,他得到的只是悲伤;

他想从旅行中寻找幸福,结果走遍了世界,踏遍了千山万水,他得到的只是疲惫。

他尝试着用了几乎所有他能想到的方法来寻找幸福,到最后才发现都是一场空。

疲惫的他打算放弃寻找了。然而,有一天,在火车站,他看到一个少妇,抱着一个熟睡的婴儿,坐在一辆小汽车里。这时,一位中年男子从刚刚进站的火车上走下来,来到汽车旁。他深情吻了一下妻子,又在婴儿的额头上轻轻地吻了一下,生怕惊醒了婴儿。然后,一家人开车离去了。

看到这一幕,这位教育家恍然大悟,原来幸福就是如此简单。我们当下所拥有的快乐的生活,就是人生最大的幸福。

[source: http://hi.baidu.com/lkxian/blog/item/77426fd1733e0384a0ec9ccb.html]
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